Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Fix-it First

Fix-It-First Bill Introduced in Senate

2:25 PM EDT on June 15, 2011

Highway maintenance has been getting short shrift in state budgets, according to a recent report from Smart Growth America. But a bill introduced in the Senate today seeks to address the imbalance between road construction and maintenance.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's Preservation and Renewal of Federal-Aid Highways Act would require states to develop targets for road maintenance. It would also give USDOT authority to establish and hold states to standards for "state of good repair" on federal highways.

Smart growth advocates and transportation reformers applauded the announcement today, saying it would help put the country back on a sustainable, fiscally responsible path.

“Roads in many states are falling in to disrepair and these declining conditions cost taxpayers billions of dollars in preventable expenses," said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. "Investing in repair makes good fiscal sense, good safety sense, and good business sense for our country.”

In his statement on the proposal, Cardin emphasized the costs of neglecting road maintenance. He noted that poor road conditions are a “significant factor” in approximately one-third of fatal crashes, adding that poor roads add to the repair and operating costs for motorists to the tune of $67 billion a year, or approximately $333 per driver. Poor road conditions also contribute to 42 percent of America’s urban highway congestion, he said.

“Investing in our nation’s highways and infrastructure has been one the best federal investments we have ever made,” said Cardin, a member of the EPW's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Our nation’s highways are critical to growing our economy, and repairing and maintaining their quality is required to ensure lasting efficiency and safety.”

Last week's Smart Growth America report found that 57 percent of states' highway funding is spent on new construction, meaning that a majority of our transportation dollars are being poured into just a fraction -- 1.3 percent -- of the total system. Meanwhile, roads are decaying fast. About half of the nation's 1.9 million lane miles were judged to be in "fair" or "poor" condition by the Federal Highway Administration in 2008.

Representatives of Smart Growth America said they will be watching and supporting Senator Cardin's legislation through the adoption process.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Popular Fort Greene Open Street Fizzles After City Pulls Support

DOT reassigned its contractor, and this open street — which once hosted rollicking dance parties — is history.

October 2, 2023

Monday’s Headlines: Thin-Skinned, Anti-Restler Mayor Edition

Under fire for how he handled the storm, the mayor found a familiar target: Brooklyn Council Member Lincoln Restler. Plus other news.

October 2, 2023

Two Paths Forward: Broadway Shows What Could Be on Fifth Avenue

It's time to widen Fifth Avenue's sidewalks and add a protected bike lane. Delays hurt everyone.

CYCLE OF RAGE: Even Cheap Souvenir Plates Fool NYC Speed Cameras — And Piss Off an Out-of-Town Man

You don't have to be SEXY to fool New York City speed cameras. You just have to pretend to be.

October 2, 2023

We Have the ‘End of Days’ Flooding Pics You Need Right Now

It's bad out there. How bad? Here is a citywide roundup from our staff ... and our friends on social media.

September 29, 2023
See all posts